Your last sentence makes my point...lots of people volunteer lots of things, but NOT the ability to actually earn the money that, ironically, can put them in a better position TO volunteer.
I think a page such as you describe is a good idea, and I think discussions such as this one are all to the good. I have one entirely volunteer scientific journal I provide freebies to (as have other artists and as do all of its contributors, editors and so on, although not, of course, all who are involved in its production...discounts maybe, but not for mailing, printing, materials and so on) and I also am a life member of the non-profit organization that produces the journal (which will profit them given how late in life I made that donation).
But not only do I retain the original art and all rights to it, I also can direct subject matter to what I can expect to profit from later through sales. They have access to digital photos (which have hugely hurt friends who used to make money at wildlife photography...now it is far easier for anyone to get, and donate, quality images of wildlife) but choose to promote cover art, not photos, and so I support them for that reason. It does promote an interest in birds and in bird art...two of my passions, but NOT at the expense of my ability to earn.
These discussions and these views are, I think, of particular importance to young artists anxious to "get known" and to those doing the highly scientific art that, while often beautiful and exciting, lacks commercial viability. I have never done freebies on things like line drawings showing avian anatomy or simple schematics, and I don't do computer art at all but if I did I'd sure charge for it, as, in fact, I do for virtually everything...I have to work to come up with exceptions. Even when making donations to a registered charity one should get a tax receipt for the value of the art...or retain rights.
From: SciArt-L Discussion List-for Natural Science Illustration- [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Britt Griswold
Sent: Friday, October 30, 2015 8:57 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [SCIART] Flora and Fauna Illustrata project - Minnesota Landscape Arboetum
It is a issue for sure. On the one hand you don't want to discourage an organization's appreciation of the art (which they are showing by starting a project like this). And as long as everyone is clear that you are essentially doing volunteer/charity work for that organization, it is hard to argue with their selection of that process. But how much energy and time should the GNSI put toward spreading this word is the issue. The GNSI itself is a volunteer/charity organization. Is part of our mission to let members know about other volunteer/charity opportunities where they can use their skills?
On the one hand I agree with the position that these sorts of project are not helping artists make a living, and the GNSI is partly about helping people and organizations understand what it takes to make science art. On the other hand if we just ignore these types of projects and people, no education takes place. Plus it it is a free world, so if someone goes in with their eyes open and educated, they can make their own choices.
I would not mind seeing the GNSI hosting a page that lays out the case for compensation as the norm in artist/organization/project relationships. As well as what you are really doing when giving it away for free.
Make sure you can square that with helping the GNSI (also a non-profit that really has little budget...and lots of people volunteering their talents). At least we don't try to claim all rights to people's art (sheesh!)
On 10/30/15 8:22 AM, Mieke Roth wrote:
> Yes, the rights transfer is what ticked me off also.
> But as an organization I think you have to be aware how “informing” is
> received. If given by an organization such as the GNSI it can easily
> give information an air of legitimacy, even when the organization
> doesn’t see it that way. And I can’t imagine that the GNSI would want
> to place a disclaimer on every piece of information it spreads. But even if you do that, such information is still easily perceived as a silent and unwitting endorsement.
> *Mieke Roth*
> *Onderwerp:* Re: [SCIART] Flora and Fauna Illustrata project -
> Minnesota Landscape Arboetum
> It’s not unlike, I think, what is experienced by people in the
> entertainment business as performers (not other aspects of that
> business) in that the exploiters know, or assume, we are all in it out
> of love for the actual act of doing, AND dependent on recognition, AND that there are more of us than there are paying jobs making it a buyer’s market (or non-buyer’s, all too often). Entertainment
> performers, too, are constantly asked for freebies. I do try to be as generous as I can be with
> everything I have, but I also have to earn a living. What really, really, irritated me about this
> deal was that the artist is expected to relinquish commercial rights to the art that is donated.
> That is really beyond belief.
> I didn’t see this as “promoting”. I agree that it is “informing” and
> don’t have a problem with that. I have a problem with the actual event, itself, not with the information that it exists.
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